Fall is in full swing. Gone are the summer graduation parties, barbecues and vacations when we might have indulged in some not so healthy eating habits or didn’t have the time to plan out our meals and pay attention to portion sizes as we hoped. At September’s support group we talked about ways to fall back into good habits. Here are our favorite tips the group came up with to get back on track:
Attend Support Groups
Having the right amount of support in your weight loss journey is crucial to long-term weight loss success. Attending a monthly support group provides accountability and refreshes you on the dietary and behavioral habits needed to maintain your weight loss. If you miss a support group, you can read our blog for additional resources, check out our nutrition webinar library, or plan on joining us next time:
Springfield: Every third Tuesday @6:30pm moderated by dietitian Meagan Butler
Somerville: Every fourth Tuesday @ 6:30pm moderated by dietitian Tia Hagins
Consume Adequate Protein
Protein is important in a bariatric diet, so make sure you incorporate it into every meal. Consuming foods like lean meat, chicken, fish or a handful of nuts for a snack are great choices. In a bariatric diet, women should consume 60 to 80 grams a day while men should have 80 to100 grams a day. Protein builds lean muscle mass, keeps your hair, nails, and skin healthy, and helps you feel full.
We say even before you have weight loss surgery that if you avoid grazing and snacking between meals and focus on one protein-filled snack, you will have more control over your calorie intake throughout the day. Weight loss surgery stops you from eating large volumes of food at once and helps you focus more on portion control but it doesn’t stop you from eating small quantities of food in between meals, which increases your caloric intake. If you’re hungry, focus on your body and what it is trying to tell you – is it emotional or physical hunger? Unfamiliar with these two kinds of hunger – read our blog article: Physical vs. Emotional Hunger: Understanding the Difference.
Avoid Drinking Caloric Beverages
Avoid liquid calories since they are empty calories and have no benefit to a bariatric diet. Avoid drinks such as juice, soda, sweetened teas, sports drinks, and alcohol. Focus on consuming more water, unsweetened iced teas and zero calorie beverages that will keep the liquid calories to a minimum at your meals. Watch out for smoothies! We might think that smoothies are a healthier go-to but they’re loaded with sugar making them a not so healthy option.
Keep a Food Log
Tracking your food intake holds you accountable for any unnecessary calories you consume. It also ensures you are getting adequate protein. You can use a mobile app like MyFitnessPal for tracking while on the go or keep it in a small journal to share with your dietitian at your next follow-up appointment. By reviewing your eating habits, you can get a better sense of your strengths and areas for improvement.
Eat Slowly at Meals
Sometimes all we need to do is just slow down. In the fast-paced society we live in, it’s hard to take the time to eat meals the way we should. Taking at least 30 minutes for each meal gives you adequate time to chew your food thoroughly. By placing a heavier focus on chewing your food you can take the time to digest every bite, which will help you feel fuller faster. If you eat too quickly, you’ll fail to recognize signs of satiety.
Choose Nutrient-Dense Whole Foods
High in sugar, processed foods provide you with a lot of calories in small quantities. Choosing lean proteins and vegetables, as well as limiting starchy vegetables like corn, peas and potatoes from your diet provides you with fewer calories and a greater feeling of fullness.
With our busy schedules, it can be difficult to get our exercise in and make it one of our priorities but it is important that we stay active! The minimum amount of exercise you should aim for is 150 minutes a week to help maintain your weight and health benefits that come with weight loss surgery. . If you are looking for moderate to larger weight loss, you should aim for 150 to 225 minutes and 225 to 420 minutes respectively. Any type of exercise from walking around your neighborhood to joining a fitness class at a local gym can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
All of us have times here and there where we might fall off track. When you feel like you’re veering, follow these healthy tips to motivate you to reach your weight loss goal.